The second day of March Madness was almost as mad as the first. The biggest headline was No. 14 Mercer knocking off No. 3 Duke and sending top prospect Jabari Parker home, but there was plenty more to talk about from all the action Friday.
No. 14 Mercer defeats No. 3 Duke 78-71
This has been the biggest upset of the tournament so far and probably screwed up many a bracket. Parker was off his game and the Bears took full advantage. The loss doesn't do much to Parker's draft status, as he's still likely to be a top-3 pick in the upcoming draft. Hopefully Parker doesn't get too discouraged and feel like he needs to stick around to make up for the defeat next year. He'd be giving up guaranteed money and while he'd still be a top prospect next year, it'd be quite the gamble if he suffers some freak accident before entering the league. Right now, he can just sit back and wait for his name to be called.
No. 10 Stanford defeats No. 7 New Mexico 58-53
This was Stanford's first appearance in the big dance since 2008 and they certainly jumped on the opportunity. The Cardinals were led by Chasson Randle who had 23 points, five rebounds and a couple assists. Randle's name isn't showing up on too many mock drafts, but if he keeps leading his team to victories, that could change.
No. 11 Tennessee defeats University of Mass. 86-67
This one stings for Boston-area fans as the Minutemen were ousted by the Volunteers pretty handily. Tennessee junior Jarnell Stokes has seen his name pop up on a few mock drafts as a second round pick and Stokes certainly stoked (pun intended) his draft stock going for 26 points 14 rebounds and a couple assists.
No. 12 SF Austin defeats No. 5 VCU 77-75
As hard as Shaka Smart tried, he just couldn't get his team past the Lumberjacks in overtime. It looked to be VCU's Jordan Burgess' two missed free throws with 10 seconds left that gave SF Austin a chance at the upset and they pulled it off. (Full disclosure: I had SF Austin in my bracket, so I'm not too upset with this upset)
Top Performances from expected draftees
Arizona fell behind early, but ended up beating Weber State 68-59 thanks in part to future first-round pick Aaron Gordon. Gordon finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. According to ESPN, Gordon is the fifth freshman to have such a stat line in his first NCAA tournament game in the last 30 years. The jury is still out on Gordon, whether he'll be a mini Blake Griffin or just another tweener forward with no jump shot.
Despite Marcus Smart's best efforts, his Cowboys were no match for Gonzaga and Smart was sent home. His stat line from the game was pretty nuts with 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six steals. That's quite the day for a guy playing point guard. Smart could have been the top pick in the last draft, but decided to return to work on his game. He made progress, but Smart is still who he was a year ago: an offensively gifted guard with a bulldog attitude on defense who needs help with his jumper.
No Joel Embiid didn't seem to have much of an impact for Kansas as they defeated Eastern Kentucky. Andrew Wiggins, who some now see as the favorite for the top pick, had a nice game with 19 points, four rebounds and a couple blocks. Wiggins didn't really explode in this game like he has in the past, but he didn't shrink either, which he has also done before. Wiggins' teammate, and possible first-round pick Wayne Selden Jr. didn't do much to help his draft stock, going for two points on 0-5 shooting and four assists in 29 minutes. But since Kansas won, he'll have another shot to show what he's made of.
Doug McDermott kept doing what Douggy McBuckets does: score. He had 30 points and 12 rebounds in Creighton's victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. McDermott is another guy whose draft status probably won't hinge too much on what he does in the tournament. Everyone knows what he can do and he does it quite well.
While Duke's Parker probably didn't impact his draft status Friday, the same can't really be said for his teammate Rodney Hood. Hood is projected to go in the middle of the first round, but he may slip a couple spots after shooting 2-10 from the floor for six points, five assists and six rebounds.
Oh, Kentucky. So many prospects. Top prospect Julius Randle had a "Julius Randle-type game" with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Randle has been linked to Boston with their top pick and while the talent is there, it looks like something is lacking. He's got tons of skill, but seems to blend in with his team. That's great if you run a particular system, but not so great if you are looking for a franchise changer. Fellow potential first rounder Willie Cauley-Stein had had two points, eight rebounds and four blocks, prospect James Young had seven points and five rebounds and Aaron Harrison had 18 points while his twin brother Andrew Harrison had seven points, five assists and five rebounds. Pick your poison.
In the UCLA game, possible first rounder Zach Levine had two points on 1-5 shooting. Kyle Anderson had eight points, six assists and six rebounds and Jordan Adams had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Bruins.